Mubarak. Jerusalem too
Photo: AP
Egypt: Israel must freeze construction in Jerusalem as well
Egyptian newspaper reports Prime Minister Netanyahu telephoned President Mubarak to personally brief him on 10-month settlement freeze, but was criticized by Cairo for missing part in plan
Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak on Thursday evening received a telephone call from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who asked to personally brief him on the cabinet's decision to freeze construction in West Bank settlement for 10 months, Egyptian newspaper al-Ahram reported Friday.


The Prime Minister's Office confirmed that a conversation had taken place, but did not provide any further details.


According to the Egyptian report, Mubarak told Netanyahu that his country had reservations about the Israeli declaration, stressing that Jerusalem must be included in the building freeze.


According to the cabinet decision and Netanyahu's declaration, Israel will freeze all new construction plans in the settlements for 10 months, but will allow the building of new structures which will not be used for housing purposes, including synagogues and educational institutions.


Netanyahu stressed that the settlement freeze would not be implemented in east Jerusalem. "We do not put any restrictions on building in our sovereign capital," the prime minister said.


The Egyptian newspaper reported that the president had explained to Netanyahu that the Israeli government must meet certain commitments in order to lay the foundations for reviving the peace process with the Palestinians. However, apart from the Jerusalem issue, no further details were available about the commitments mentioned.


The Foreign Ministry in Cairo issued a statement on Thursday evening, defining the Israeli declaration as an "insufficient move, which does not meet the needs of the peace process." The statement added that a resumption of the negotiations must be based on a clear foundation of trust building, and that the Israeli move does not meet this condition.


Jordanian Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh also said that the only way to guarantee peace in the Middle East involves renewing effective and serious negotiations from the point they left off.


"The talks must address the core issues, including the permanent borders, the refugees and security," he said. He reiterated the Jordanian stance, which criticizes Israel's actions in Jerusalem.


Roni Sofer contributed to this report


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